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Ideology Work Must Be Grasped Tightly

This Autumn Stone editorial was first published in Qiushi on 1 April.

Ideological work is extremely important work for our Party, it relates to the Party’s future fate, it relates to a long period of peace and order for the country, and it relates to the cohesion and centripetal force of the nation. We must give high regard to and realistically strengthen ideological work, we must especially grasp the leadership power, management power and discourse power tightly in our hands, we cannot let it fall to others at any moment, otherwise, we will make an irredeemable historical mistake.

The key is implementing leadership responsibilities

To do ideological work well, we must first and foremost resolve the question of leadership power. The Chinese Communist Party is the leading core of the undertaking of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Party leadership mainly is ideological, political and organizational leadership, and among these, ideological leadership has an extremely large significance for leadership over the country and society. Tightly grasping the leadership power in ideological work is a requirement for consolidating the dominant position of Marxism in the ideological area under new circumstances, and for consolidating the common ideological basis for the united struggle of the entire Party and the entire people, it is a requirement for perfecting and developing the institutions of Socialism with Chinese characteristics and moving forward the modernization of the country’s governance structure and governance capacity, and it is a requirement for responding to the ideological infiltration that Western hostile forces conduct against us.

To lead means to drive and to guide. Our country’s broadest popular masses believe in and support our Party, they are willing to march with the Party, and it is crucial that our Party must stand at the forefront of the times and in the front line of the struggle, and leads the masses forward; at present, the struggle ideological area is acute and complex, and it is crucial that our Party must fly its banner clearly, sing the main melody among the hubbub of the mass of voices, and guides social thinking trends. Over the past few years, some mistaken thinking trends and undercurrents have welled up, and brought chaos to the thinking of a part of the masses. At this time, all levels’ leading Party cadres must step forward and speak, firmly propagate the Party’s theories, line, principles and policies, firmly propagate the major work deployments of the Centre, firmly propagate the Centre’s major analyses and judgments concerning circumstances, determinedly maintain a high level of consistency with the Party Centre, and persist in safeguarding the authority of the Centre. They must shout loudly at and strike hard those people who have been captured by mistaken thoughts, in order to warn them.

In recent years, a strange phenomenon appeared in the Party and in society, which is that whoever publishes positive discourse, whoever publishes discourse supporting the Party and the government, whoever denounces those discourses that attack and slander the Party and the government, is besieged, and silence often reigns in our own camp, or our voices are not loud, our support and protection for positive voices is insufficient. This sort of phenomenon merits deep reflection. If we allow this sort of phenomenon to develop, that means we abandon our leadership responsibilities, and will let leadership power fall to others. In the ideological area, we do not engage in pointless disputes, but where great questions of right and wrong are concerned, or major questions about the choice of institutional model and building value systems are concerned, we can absolutely not become inattentive, and we can certainly not give way. Leading cadres must dare to stand in the teeth of the storm and conduct struggle, they cannot take a detour around great questions of right and wrong, they cannot use “not disputes”, “no sensationalism” and “let them talk” as an excuse for their own lack of action, and they cannot do the sort of “protection of their public image” thing. On the battlefield, there are no “liberal-minded gentlemen”, in questions of great right and wrong, there are also no “liberal-minded gentlemen”. In the ideological and political struggle that relates to the future fate of the Party and the country, no leading cadre can be a bystander, they must be loyal bodyguards for the Party and the people.

To see whether or not a leading cadre is politically mature or not, or whether he can take on important responsibilities, an important aspect is to see whether he pays attention to and is good at grasping ideological work or not. The main responsible comrades in all levels’ Party Committees and all leading comrades in charge of ideological work should stand in the first line of ideological work with banners flying clearly, they are duty-bound to bear their political responsibilities. Main responsible comrades in Party Committees must take the lead in grasping ideological work, take the lead in reading the content of the major media in their localities and departments, take the lead in grasping leadership over media in their localities and departments, take the lead in criticizing mistaken viewpoints and erroneous tendencies, strengthen their analysis and judgment of major question in the ideological area and the comprehensive planning of major strategic tasks. Where leadership in ideological work is weak, resulting in grave consequences, there shall be strict accountability.

The ideological area cannot be separated from management

Something closely connected to leadership power is management power. Must the ideological area be managed? Of course it must. Thoughts are intangible, but the media that carry and disseminate thoughts, battlefields, etc., are tangible, they are a part of the social undertaking, and must naturally be managed. Marx and Engels once pointed out that: “they rule also as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age”. (Collected Works of Marx and Engels, vol. 1, p. 551). What is meant here by the “regulation” of the production and distribution of ideas, is management. In fact, in modern society, there is no area that does not require management, it is said that “without rules, there cannot be squares and circles”, management also is productive force.

The West boasts about its so-called freedom of speech and freedom of the press, but in fact, their control of ideology is severe. The true rulers of Western societies are capital-monopolist groups, those big Western media that control the wind and the waves in their own country and the international public opinion sphere, and exert the most power and influence over politics, economics, ideology and culture, are all controlled by the hand of capital-monopolist groups. Western media can hold politicians accountable, censure political parties and criticize governments, they can bring some politicians down, make some political parties lose elections, and let a government lose office, but they can absolutely not fundamentally challenge, criticize or oppose their capitalist bosses and the capitalist system. Western capital-monopolist groups use their huge wealth to hire a large batch of ideological and public opinion elites, who dress up capitalist ideology as so-called “universal values”, domestically, they conduct long-term propaganda and inculcation of the masses, they engage in ideological confinement, anything that does not conform to mainstream ideology is seen as “politically incorrect”; they draw ideological lines internationally, and spare no effort to export Western ideology globally they use Western standards to judge all events occurring in the world, what conforms to Western standards is seen as good, and what does not conformed is demonized. The United States often send soldiers abroad , creating so many humanitarian disasters! And Western media even act as information stations and tools for public opinion battles in these wars. The West regularly talks about “the free circulation of ideas”, but when have they ever earnestly introduced ideological theories and value views that are different from Western ideology? Why do many Americans have a narrow vision, and has their ignorance of the outside world reached such a shocking extent? Is it possible that it is the result of the long-term conduct of ideological blockades and policies to keep the population stupid?

Socialist ideology reflects the fundamental interests of the broadest people, and so it never conceals its own political positions and viewpoints. Where press and publications, radio and television, culture and art, social science and other such propaganda and culture departments, organs and media are concerned, where the Party’s propaganda work of ideology and culture is concerned, it means we must stress the Party nature. The principle of the Party nature is the fundamental principle of ideological work, and is the core of the question of management in the ideological sphere.

In stressing the Party nature, three matters are the most important. First, persisting in the leadership of the Party. Ideologically, persisting in the dominant position of Marxism; politically, persisting in the orientation of serving the people and serving Socialism, and maintaining a high degree of consistency with the Party Centre; organizationally, guaranteeing that all levels and all sorts of propaganda and culture organs’ leadership power is held tightly in the hands of persons loyal to the Party and the people. Second, persisting in the consistency of responsibility towards the Party and responsibility towards the People. The Party has wholeheartedly serving the people as its basic purpose, it is the most faithful representative of the people’s interest, it has no private interest of its own outside of the interest of the people, this has decided that responsibility towards the Party in propaganda and culture work is consistent with responsibility towards the people. Third, persisting in the Party’s propaganda discipline. Propaganda and culture work not only requires observance of the Constitution and the law, and submitting to administrative management by relevant State departments, but we must also observe the Party’s propaganda discipline, including all kinds of concrete work requirements, matters needing attention, etc. If we do not stress discipline, leadership power and management power will come to nothing.

Now, the influence of the Internet is growing ever larger. Letting the Internet be a relatively open and free public opinion environment, and letting it become a supplement to mainstream public opinion battlefields basically should be beneficial and constructive. But online rumours spread widely, chaotic phenomena of online rights infringement appear in quick succession, online negative speculation causes temporary uproars, making cyberspace become foul and chaotic, gravely harming this sort of constructivity, will it do not to manage this? Putting chaotic online phenomena in order according to the law and cleaning up cyberspace relate to the struggle in the ideological sphere, relate to the consolidation and expansion of mainstream ideology and public opinion, relate to the bigger picture of national reform, development and stability, and are great matters that must be handled well.

The management in the ideological sphere has its complexities and peculiarities. With regard to the masses’ proper, reasonable and well-intentioned criticism and supervision, regardless of how sharp it is, we welcome it, we must never be unhappy, and can certainly not suppress it; we must not only welcome it, but must also earnestly listen and realistically improve. With regard to academic questions, we should promote democracy, equal discussion, persuade people with reason, ensure that there are no forbidden zones in research, and there is discipline in propaganda. With regard to questions of ideological understanding, we should state the facts clearly, stress reason, strengthen positive propaganda, and guide matters in a focused manner. With regard to major political principles and great questions of right and wrong, on what to support and what to oppose, we must fly our banners clearly and have firm attitudes. The Party must manage the media, manage the orientation, manage teams and manage cadres, strengthen the responsibilities of controlling and sponsoring departments as well as localized management, and let mainstream ideology and public opinion firmly occupy ideological battlefields.

Winning the power of initiative with discourse power

To do ideological work well, discourse power is also of the utmost importance. We ourselves are incessantly summarizing China’s development path, but there are also people who have made other interpretations and evaluations, furthermore, they do their utmost to vie with our Party for discourse power and influence. In the past few years, the ideological and theoretical sphere has been lively, and some problems have led to great disputes. Having disputes is not a bad thing, the truth will always become clearer through more debate, the important matter is that discourse power must be firmly grasped.

Now, the achievements that China has gained in economic and social development are affirmed internationally for the most part, leaders of various countries will express admiration when they meet with the leaders of our country. At the same time, there are also an increasing number of people who begin to affirm the governance structure and governance capacity of our country, and this is exactly what is most taboo to the West. When the New China had just been founded, there were people in the West who prophesied that the Chinese Communist Party could do a revolution, but that it could not do construction, they looked upon us with ridicule. After reform and opening up, our country’s economy started to develop rapidly, and there were some people around the world who again made snide remarks, when we did well, there was the “China threat theory”, when we ran into difficulties, there was the “China collapse theory”, they never were not in our ears. In thirty years, we have undergone many storms and waves, but we have not only endured all of them, we have also developed even better after the storms and waves passed, in incessant clear contrast with the situation of chaos in a number of countries worldwide. Practice demonstrates that our country marches a successful development path that is different from the Western countries, we have formed a set of successful institutions and systems that is different from Western countries. We use facts to declare the bankruptcy of the “end of history theory”, and to declare the bankruptcy of the one-way view of history in which all countries in the end must converge to Western institutional models.

Furthermore, where in the world are there “universal values” and “ultimate models” that are applicable everywhere? Some people underestimated the superiority, resilience, vitality and potential of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, or they did see this and know it tacitly, but because of ideological reasons, they would stubbornly refuse to admit this verbally. The West’s arguments about freedom, democracy and human rights are the most typical stereotyped expression, they have talked about this stuff for two hundred years, and are still talking about it, they still have these concepts and these excuses, they are unable to talk about some new things, they just rely on that stuff that has been repeated for two hundred years to monopolize the international discourse power.

What merits vigilance is that, under the influence of Western hostile discourse and mistaken thinking trends, deviations have also emerged in the understanding of some people domestically, they blindly turn with the wind, and consciously or unconsciously criticize events occurring in our country with Western ideology and institutional models and standards. The huge achievements of reform and opening up, the successes gained in responding to major natural disasters, etc., are clearly successes obtained by our Party leading the people in marching the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, they have clearly manifested the superiority of China’s institutions, but it is said that these are the fulfilment of “universal values”, that they are “universal” and not “particular”; it is believed to be normal that the same social problems and social phenomena, such as incidents of mass resistance, etc., occur in Western countries, and even that they are reflections of freedom, democracy and human rights, but if they occur in China, it is said that they are created by “institutional abuses”, they are the manifestation of a so-called “social crisis”, some people even impute the smog to the system; some people cannot see the fact that in the present world, “China’s landscape is beyond compare” in the present world, but they are anxious about China’s prospects, and believe that China will only have a way out if it implements Western “constitutional democracy”. How deluded and ignorant this is!

Whether or not a shoe fits, one only knows when putting it on. On whether or not China’s development path is correct, only the Chinese people themselves have the most right to speak. With China’s population of 1.3 billion and 56 ethnicities, and its territory of 9.6 million square kilometres, whose model can be followed? The problem is that since reform and opening up, we have done remarkably well and been very successful in practice, but we have not been sufficiently forceful in summarizing research, propagation and elucidation, what is said is not as good as what has been done. What is truly a influential, cohesive force among the broad masses is the elucidation of patriotism and the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the nation, but this is insufficient. We must persist in and develop Socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must build a discourse system that has Chinese characteristics, Chinese styles and Chinese airs, which is strongly influential, persuasive and cohesive, strive to forge new concepts, new categories and new expressions that circulate in China and abroad, use them to elucidate China’s basic national conditions, value concepts, development path, and domestic and foreign policies, shape a “mass discussion” on the theoretical system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, shape a “Chinese discussion” on Socialist ideology, and thereby consolidate a common ideological basis of the united struggle of the Party and the people, and gain the power of initiative in the ideological struggle.

意识形态工作要紧紧抓在手上

意识形态工作是我们党的一项极端重要的工作,事关党的前途命运,事关国家长治久安,事关民族凝聚力和向心力。我们必须高度重视和切实加强意识形态工作,尤其要把意识形态工作的领导权、管理权、话语权紧紧抓在手上,任何时候都不能旁落,否则就要犯无可挽回的历史性错误。
关键是落实领导责任
做好意识形态工作,首先要解决领导权问题。中国共产党是中国特色社会主义事业的领导核心。党的领导,主要是思想、政治和组织领导,其中思想领导对于实现党对国家和社会的领导具有极大意义。牢牢掌握意识形态工作的领导权,是新形势下巩固马克思主义在意识形态领域的指导地位、巩固全党全国人民团结奋斗的共同思想基础的要求,是完善和发展中国特色社会主义制度、推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化的要求,也是应对西方敌对势力对我进行意识形态渗透的要求。
领导,就是要领之导之。我国最广大的人民群众是相信和支持我们党的,是愿意跟党走的,关键是我们党要站在时代前列、斗争前沿,带领群众前进;当前意识形态领域斗争尖锐复杂,关键是我们党要亮明自己的旗帜,在众声喧哗中唱响主旋律,引导社会思潮。这些年,一些错误思潮暗流涌动,把部分群众的思想搞乱了。这个时候,党的各级领导干部必须站出来说话,坚定宣传党的理论和路线方针政策,坚定宣传中央重大工作部署,坚定宣传中央关于形势的重大分析判断,坚决同党中央保持高度一致,坚决维护中央权威。对那些做了错误思想俘虏的人,就是要大喝一声,猛击一掌,使之警醒。
近年来,党内和社会上出现了一种怪现象,就是谁发表正面的言论,谁发表支持党和政府的言论,谁驳斥那些攻击、污蔑党和政府的言论,谁就会受到围攻,而我们自己阵营常常是鸦雀无声或者声音不大,对正面声音支持保护不够。这种现象很值得深思。如果听任这种现象发展,那就是放弃领导责任,就是让领导权旁落。在意识形态领域,我们不搞无谓争论,但牵涉到大是大非问题,牵涉到制度模式选择、价值体系建设等重大问题,决不能左顾右盼,更不能退避三舍。领导干部要敢于站在风口浪尖进行斗争,不能对大是大非问题绕着走,不能用“不争论”、“不炒热”、“让说话”为自己的不作为开脱,不能搞“爱惜羽毛”那一套。战场上没有“开明绅士”,在大是大非问题上也没有“开明绅士”。在事关党和国家前途命运的思想政治斗争中,所有领导干部都不能作旁观者,而要作党和人民的忠诚卫士。
看一个领导干部政治上是否成熟、能否担当重任,一个重要方面就是看他重不重视、善不善于抓意识形态工作。各级党委主要负责同志和分管意识形态工作的领导同志,应该旗帜鲜明站在意识形态工作第一线,责无旁贷承担起政治责任。党委主要负责同志要带头抓意识形态工作,带头阅看本地区本部门主要媒体的内容,带头把握本地区本部门媒体的导向,带头批评错误观点和错误倾向,加强对意识形态领域重大问题的分析研判和重大战略性任务的统筹指导。对意识形态工作领导不力、造成严重后果的,应当严肃问责。
意识形态领域离不开管理
与领导权紧密关联的是管理权。意识形态领域要不要管理?当然要。思想无形,但承载和传播思想的媒体、阵地等等是有形的,是社会事业的一部分,当然需要管理。马克思恩格斯曾指出:“作为思想的生产者进行统治,他们调节着自己时代的思想的生产和分配”。(《马克思恩格斯文集》第1卷第551页)这里所说的对思想的生产和分配进行“调节”,就是管理。其实,现代社会,没有哪个领域不需要管理,所谓“没有规矩,不成方圆”,管理也是生产力。
西方标榜所谓言论自由、新闻自由,其实他们对意识形态的管制是很厉害的。西方社会真正的统治者是垄断资本集团,那些在本国及国际舆论场上呼风唤雨,对政治、经济和思想文化施加着巨大影响的最有权势的西方大媒体,都掌控在垄断资本集团手中。西方媒体可以问责政客、指摘政党、批评政府,可以让某位政客落马、某个政党败选、某届政府下台,但它们绝对不会从根本上去质疑、批评、反对资本家老板和资本主义制度。西方垄断资本集团重金雇佣大批思想舆论精英,把资本主义意识形态包装成所谓“普世价值”,在国内向民众长期宣传灌输,搞意识形态禁锢,凡不符合主流意识形态的就被视为“政治不正确”;在国际上按意识形态划线,不遗余力向世界输出西方意识形态,用西方标准评判世界上发生的一切事情,符合西方标准的就被视为好的,不符合的就加以妖魔化。美国打着自由民主的旗号频繁对外用兵,制造了多少人道主义灾难!而西方媒体在这些战争中甚至充当了信息战、舆论战的工具。西方经常讲“思想的自由流动”,可是他们何曾认真地介绍过不同于西方意识形态的别的思想理论和价值观?为什么很多美国人眼界狭窄,对外部世界的无知到了令人吃惊的程度?难道不是长期实行思想封锁、愚民政策的结果吗?
社会主义意识形态反映的是最广大人民的根本利益,所以从来不隐瞒自己的政治立场和观点。对于新闻出版、广播电视、文化艺术、社会科学等宣传文化部门、机构和媒体来说,对于党的宣传思想文化工作者来说,就是要讲党性。党性原则是意识形态工作的根本原则,也是意识形态领域管理问题的核心。
讲党性,有三条最重要。一是坚持党的领导。思想上,坚持马克思主义的指导地位;政治上,坚持为人民服务、为社会主义服务的方向,同党中央保持高度一致;组织上,确保各级各类宣传文化机构的领导权掌握在忠于党和人民的人手里。二是坚持对党负责和对人民负责的一致性。党以全心全意为人民服务为根本宗旨,是人民利益最忠实的代表者,除了人民的利益没有自己的私利,这就决定了宣传文化工作对党负责和对人民负责是一致的。三是坚持党的宣传纪律。宣传文化工作不仅要遵守宪法、法律,服从国家有关部门的行政管理,而且必须遵守党的宣传纪律,包括各种具体工作要求、注意事项等。不讲纪律,领导权、管理权都会落空。
现在,互联网的影响越来越大。让互联网有一个相对开放自由的舆论环境,作为对主流舆论阵地的一种补充,本该是有益的、建设性的。但网络谣言大行其道、网络侵权乱象纷呈、网上负面炒作甚嚣尘上,使网络空间变得污浊混乱,严重损害了这种建设性,不管行吗?依法治理网络乱象,让网络空间清朗起来,关系意识形态领域斗争,关系巩固壮大主流思想舆论,关系国家改革发展稳定大局,是一件必须办好的大事。
意识形态领域的管理有其复杂性、特殊性。对群众正常、合理、善意的批评和监督,不管多么尖锐,我们都欢迎,都不要不高兴,更不能压制;不仅要欢迎,而且要认真听取、切实改正。对学术问题,应该发扬民主,平等讨论,以理服人,做到研究无禁区、宣传有纪律。对思想认识问题,应该摆事实、讲道理,加强正面宣传,有针对性地加以引导。对重大政治原则和大是大非问题,支持什么、反对什么,必须旗帜鲜明、态度坚定。党要管媒体、管导向、管队伍、管干部,强化主管主办和属地管理职责,让主流思想舆论牢牢占领意识形态阵地。
以话语权赢得主动权
做好意识形态工作,话语权也至关紧要。对中国的发展道路,我们自己在不断总结,但也有人作出别样的解读和评说,并且竭力同我们党争夺话语权和影响力。这些年,思想理论领域很热闹,有些问题引起很大争论。有争论并不是坏事,真理总是越辩越明,重要的是必须牢牢掌握话语权。
现在,国际上对中国取得的经济社会发展成就大都是肯定的,各国领导人在与我国领导人见面时都会对我国发展成就表示钦佩。同时,也有越来越多的人开始肯定我们国家的治理体系和治理能力,而这恰恰是西方最忌讳讲的。新中国刚成立的时候,西方就有人预言,中国共产党搞革命还行,搞建设不行,等着看我们的笑话。改革开放以后,我国经济迅速发展起来了,世界上又有人说风凉话,搞得好就是“中国威胁论”,遇到困难就是“中国崩溃论”,一直不绝于耳。30多年来,我们经历了多少风浪,不仅都挺过来了,而且每场风雨过后都发展得更好,同世界上一些国家乱局不断形成了鲜明对照。实践证明,我国走出来一条不同于西方国家的成功发展道路,形成了一套不同于西方国家的成功制度体系。我们用事实宣告了“历史终结论”的破产,宣告了各国最终都要以西方制度模式为归宿的单线式历史观的破产。
其实,世界上哪有什么放之四海而皆准的“普世价值”、“终极模式”?有些人低估了中国特色社会主义制度的优势、韧性、活力和潜能,或者是也看到了,心知肚明,但出于意识形态原因,口头上就是死不认账。西方对自由、民主、人权的演绎是最典型的套话,他们讲那一套讲了一二百年,现在还在讲,还是那些概念、那套说辞,讲不出什么新东西,就是凭借着重复了一二百年的那些套话垄断了国际话语权。
值得警惕的是,在西方强势话语和错误思潮影响下,国内一些人的认识也发生了偏差,盲目跟风,对我国发生的事情自觉不自觉地以西方意识形态和制度模式为标准来评判。改革开放的巨大成就,应对重大自然灾害取得的胜利等,明明是我们党带领人民走中国特色社会主义道路取得的成功,分明彰显了中国的制度优势,却被说成是“普世价值”的兑现,在“普”不在“特”;同样的社会问题、社会现象,如群体性抗议事件等,发生在西方国家就被认为是正常的,甚至是自由、民主、人权的体现,发生在中国就被说成是“体制弊端”造成的,是所谓“社会危机”的表现,有人甚至把雾霾也归咎于体制;有些人看不到当今世界上中国“风景这边独好”的事实,却在为中国的前途忧心忡忡,认为中国只有实行西方“宪政民主”才有出路。这是怎样的迷思与蒙昧!
鞋子合不合脚,自己穿了才知道。中国的发展道路对不对,中国人自己才最有发言权。中国13亿多人口、56个民族、960万平方公里土地,能照谁的模式办?问题在于,改革开放以来我们在实践中干得很漂亮、很成功,但在总结研究、宣传阐释上却不够给力,说的不如干的。真正在广大民众中有影响力凝聚力的是爱国主义、民族复兴中国梦的论述,但这是不够的。我们要坚持和发展中国特色社会主义,必须构建起具有中国特色、中国风格、中国气派,具有强大吸引力、说服力、凝聚力的话语体系,着力打造融通中外的新概念、新范畴、新表述,用以解读中国的基本国情、价值理念、发展道路、内外政策,形成中国特色社会主义理论体系的“大众论述”,形成社会主义意识形态的“中国论述”,从而巩固党和人民团结奋斗的共同思想基础,赢得意识形态斗争的主动权。